“Here's one of the sites on Tarawa,” he pointed out on a colored map on his table.
He says for Americans Tarawa was the perfect spot for an air strip.
“The purpose was to get heavy bombers in there to start the island hopping campaign in the pacific,” he said.
It was an island already loaded with 5,000 Japanese, hundreds of pillboxes, and huge, steel guns lining the beaches.
“They had a prayer service,” said Alexandra, pointing to a black and white picture in her album.
Aboard the SS Matsonia, her father and his fellow marines prepared for what Dr. Fox called the first amphibious assault of World War II. It was an attack by sea nothing short of sending them to slaughter.
“No one would think of doing that now,” said Dr. Fox shaking his head. “Putting somebody out in the open, 500 meters away, and say wade to the beach where they're shooting at you.”
“He wasn't supposed to be there,” said Alexandra of her father.
Bonnyman’s job was to escort the marines to shore, and then get back on the boat. It was an order he ignored.
“Well, he saw what was happening,” she said, “so he got off himself.”